Thursday, April 26, 2012

In Faith and Obedience

“There is no way to peace along the way of safety. For peace must be dared, it is itself the great venture and can never be safe. Peace is the opposite of security… Peace means giving oneself completely to God’s commandment, wanting no security, but in faith and obedience laying the destiny of the nations in the hand of Almighty God, not trying to direct it for selfish purposes. Battles are won, not with weapons, but with God. They are won when the way leads to the cross.” – Dietrich Bonhoeffer

Lately, the Lord has been demonstrating His faithfulness in some drastically different ways than the ways that I typically anticipate. This is one of the truly amazing aspects of His character – that He does His will in His timing for His glory. We can truly rest in the fact that His ways are not our ways and that His thoughts are not our thoughts. He is increasingly more capable than I could ever be in anything. This is both humbling and exciting.

As a social worker, it is my privilege to serve families in numerous capacities. I can honestly say that the Lord has given me a much stronger glimpse into His character and His purpose since having worked for this agency. I love that my ways are not the Lord’s. And I love that there is nothing I can do to thwart or control His overall purposes. At times, I find myself longing for the ability to learn God’s next move; however, it is in these moments when I find both the families I serve and myself truly trusting the Lord with all our hearts. And that is the purpose of it all, right? To trust the Lord as Lord over our lives, even with our families and with the future of these beautiful children we advocate for.

Not long ago, my small group and I intensely studied the life of Abraham and His role in God’s redemptive history. Genesis 15:6 makes the astonishing revelation that because Abraham believed, it was credited to Him as righteousness. This is not because of anything Abraham did or said or planned, but because He believed in the promises of the Lord.  He trusted the Lord. This did not guarantee safety, money, health, or anything else.  In fact, Abraham even had to move to a foreign land as a result. It simply meant He trusted the Lord’s covenant that was given, and because of this, the Lord viewed Abraham in right standing with Himself.

What a crazy thought! That God blesses us with His presence and mercy when we trust His promises. When things in our lives begin to look insecure, we have security in the presence of the Lord. Above, I quoted Bonhoeffer. This is a man who believed peace to not be a feeling but a result of obedience in trusting the Lord’s will. He reminds us that the road to peace with God is not always the safest road by the world’s perspective. However, when we are trusting the Lord’s plan and not our own, we begin to really know the Lord for who He truly is. There is an element of risk to seeking the peace that comes from obeying the will of God. When we do, our lives point to the redemption found at the cross through Christ. Therefore, my encouragement to everyone is to hold firm to the promises of the Lord and have faith in all circumstances. If He has led you to this, He will surely carry you through in His faithfulness in order to bring Himself glory. The path may be different than we anticipate, but His purpose is infinitely better. It is simply our role to believe these promises as Abraham did and obey Him wholeheartedly. May the peace of the Lord be with you all. 

 Beth Stanley, International Social Worker

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